Discovering Chile, its wine and wineries
Important facts about Chilean wine, grape varieties and the country's most beautiful wine regions.
Chile is definitely worth a trip. By now, this uniquely shaped nation occupying the narrow space between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes in the west extreme of South America has become a favorite travel destination for hikers, nature lovers and skiers. In the early 1990s, it was little known. Ever since, Chilean wines have earned top honors worldwide. Chile´s favorable climate conditions provide virtually perfect preconditions for growing wine grapes. A mild Mediterranean climate, fertile soils, irrigation waters of the Andean snowmelt that are rich in minerals and a constantly shining sun give Chilean red and white wines their top quality and outstanding character.
Located in between the 7000 m high Andean mountains in the east and the 2000 m high coastal mountain range in the west, a long stretched Valley runs through the entire country. From east to west, several river valleys cross this valley, carrying water from the Andes to the ocean. Cultivation areas used for growing wine grapes are situated in between the Aconcagua valley 150 km north of Santiago and the city of Concepción 500 km south of the capital. The coastal mountain range holds off the heavy impact of the Pacific, letting just enough moisture from the sea pass through that provides the favorable growing conditions for vines in the river valleys. Fertile soils and ever consistent weather conditions contribute to the fact that winegrowers can count on a number of microclimates. Some lands qualify for growing fresh, fruity wine, while others qualify for ripe red and white wine or for a mass production of table wine.
An invaluable advantage for Chilean winegrowers is the fact that Chile is vine pest free due to a steady soil erosion and irrigation waters of the snowmelt. Traditional grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon grow only here on root genuine vines, without having to be grafted onto a rootstock. Due to an economic boom of the last years and technological improvement of the wineries, Chile is known for producing excellent red wines at moderate prices. More and more, good and fresh white wines are being cultivated. Carmenére wines have now become a national symbol of Chile.
In the course of a growing recognition of Chilean wines, in recent years, Chile´s winemakers have realized the importance of wine tourism and have focused on creating a good tourist infrastructure. By now, those days of faceless wine tours with tastings of cheap wine are long gone. Today, wineries compete with well-thought-out offers, such as exquisite restaurants, modern and romantic wine cellars, cable cars going to lookout points or luxury country hotels, attracting wine lovers and travellers from all over the world.